NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2023
RED WINGS, DUCKS, ISLANDERS LINKED TO DEBRINCAT
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the future of Alex DeBrincat remains the Senators’ top priority. Management continues to work the phones trying to trade the 25-year-old restricted free-agent winger.
St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland claims the Detroit Red Wings are revisiting their interest in DeBrincat. Garrioch also cites sources claiming the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders are in the mix.
If the Senators can get DeBrincat off their books, they could have room to sign unrestricted free-agent winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The Senators would also like to add depth to their third and fourth lines but some of that is being held up by the DeBrincat situation.
TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported the DeBrincat camp seeks a contract similar to Timo Meier’s eight-year, $70.2 million deal with the New Jersey Devils with an average annual value of $8.8 million. Interested clubs aren’t willing to go that high, valuing him closer to $7.8 million. None of them are willing to offer up an eight-year contract.
The Senators could bring DeBrincat back on a one-year deal. However, they’re taking the winger to salary arbitration to see if they can get a 15 percent reduction on his $9 million qualifying offer.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Red Wings could consider terminating winger Filip Zadina’s contract after failed efforts to trade him followed by his clearing waivers earlier this week. There’s talk he could refuse to report to their AHL affiliate if sent down, which would be a contract violation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Red Wings have over $9.8 million in cap space. They have the cap room to pursue a trade for DeBrincat and perhaps sign him to a contract close to what his camp is seeking. However, they might feel more inclined to do so if they can get Zadina’s $1.85 million cap hit through 2023-24 off their books.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Levine weighed in on the Ducks’ rumored interest in DeBrincat. He believes it would make sense for them as they’re seeking a scoring winger and have the cap space and assets to make it happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on Garrioch’s latest report, the Ducks may have the cap space but they’re not willing to pay him $8.8 million annually. The same also applies to the Red Wings. Both clubs could be trying to squeeze the DeBrincat camp into accepting a lesser deal to facilitate a trade.
The Islanders, meanwhile, have the most difficult path to landing DeBrincat. They lack the cap space as well as the quality assets to tempt the Senators. I don’t see them having a chance unless the Ducks and Red Wings drop out of the bidding.
PENGUINS, HURRICANES BELIEVED TO BE INTERESTED IN KARLSSON
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng indicates the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes are thought to be interested in Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that interested clubs prefer that the Sharks retain a larger chunk of the 33-year-old Norris Trophy winner’s $11.5 million cap hit.
Friedman indicated the Sharks were willing to retain 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit when they were discussing a possible deal with the Edmonton Oilers earlier this year. He also noted that general manager Mike Grier has said that they’re not going to retain 50 percent.
According to Friedman, Sharks owner Hasso Plattner is a bit involved in this situation. It sounds like he’d be willing to retain a little bit more with the caveat that the more they retain, the better the return has to be.
Friedman also noted that Kyle Dubas, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, has been pursuing Karlsson for some time, stretching back to when he was the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi believes Dubas has a way of clearing cap space to acquire Erik Karlsson now that Penguins winger Drew O’Connor has filed for arbitration. That move allows the Penguins a second opportunity this summer to buy out any player on his roster (other than O’Connor) 72 hours after O’Connor’s arbitration case is settled or awarded.
Rossi noted that Dubas said on July 1 that he looked into acquiring Karlsson and didn’t rule out continuing the pursuit. Such a move would likely be a three-team deal as the Penguins lack sufficient tradeable assets on their own to make it happen and the cap space to absorb his full cap hit.
The Penguins have two potential buyout candidates in Mikael Granlund and Jeff Petry. Rossi believes Granlund is the more likely option given Dubas’ recent remarks that he still views Petry playing a big part with the Penguins going forward.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden doesn’t see the Penguins pulling off a Karlsson trade given their lack of cap space and trade assets. The only way he envisions it happening is through “some third-team, cap-dump magic.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three-team trades are easy for fans to envision, In reality, they’re difficult to pull off, especially when the centerpiece of the deal carries $11.5 million annually through 2026-27 plus a full no-movement clause giving him complete control of the situation.
I’m not suggesting it can’t happen. I just think the Penguins face long odds of pulling it off.
LATEST ON GIBSON
There have been reports that Gibson wanted to be traded from the rebuilding Ducks to a team that was in a better position to win the Stanley Cup. The 29-year-old goaltender said he wasn’t really sure if a trade was going to happen. He indicated he’s had a few conversations with Ducks GM Pat Verbeek since the end of the 2022-23 season but declined to get into the details.
Gibson said he’s facing some uncertainty over whether he’ll be returning with the Ducks or playing elsewhere this season. For now, he’s focusing on his offseason training.
Levine believes it’s unclear what the future holds for Gibson. He’s got four seasons left on his contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports there is no known formal trade request from Gibson. When asked, the goalie and his agent declined to comment. However, sources close to Gibson and the Ducks say he has not asked to be traded.
Stephens indicated that neither side is banging the table for a trade. However, that doesn’t mean neither side wouldn’t be interested if an opportunity were to materialize.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s cap hit and his 10-team no-trade clause complicates things. Verbeek would also likely set a significant asking price. Perhaps next summer might be a better opportunity to move Gibson when the salary cap is expected to rise by at least $4 million.